Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zen & The Art of Zynga Poker

Friends of mine meditate in different ways. For me, it’s Zynga Poker.

My friend Maria Morris wakes up early, sits quietly and breathes, “My thoughts are howling dogs. And sometimes I have a cat that’s been indoors and sees Mommy is awake and wants to be fed and lets me know by meowing every ten seconds. So meditating with either dogs or cats or thoughts: why bother? Because it helps focus during difficulties. AND when you create that habit, it also opens the door to peace, joy, and the divine.”

I want peace, joy, and the divine.

And, I’ve explored a little with meditation. But nothing gave me that consistent grounding until I discovered tournaments on Zynga Poker.

For me, meditating is playing a whole tournament sticking strictly to Basic Strategy. You see, I am an adrenaline junkie. I’ve heard myself talk myself into calling or betting with garbage cards. I want to play more hands than would usually be profitable.

How do I meditate? I play a poker tournament on Zynga. My goal is to follow Basic Strategy, which requires I slow myself down. I find again and again that Basic Strategy outperforms improvised exceptions to the rules. When I win you can hear me yell, “Thank you Basic Strategy! Thank You BASIC STRATEGY!”

If I were really meditating, I’d be content with following Basic Strategy and I wouldn’t allow my feelings of winning and losing to over shadow my ability to follow a predetermined plan for my play.

What I do know is that on days I can’t stick to Basic Strategy, I’m on tilt. Time to slow down a notch, or two. That’s when I notice… Wow, I was rushing.

In that moment, I breathe easier.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Media Ecology... we are living information

We replicate DNA as bio-information, living information. Memes ride on DNA, impacting the distribution of DNA.

Memes bond with humans all the time, affecting our behavior. When we sense things differently, our behavior changes. Memes you ingested today may impact your optic nerve for the rest of your life.

From a replication perspective, the human brain can be seen as a female host in which memes replicate themselves into active form, impacting their environment via the altered human actions.

This appears to me as interspecies symbiosis.

With Mans ability to wield mass energy, it appears to me as an intellectual error to take the phenomenal world as more or less real than it's memetic counterpoint that holds the space for its present existence.

We take salaries and turn the dollars into choices, content and information. There is an emerging language describing how everything is happening. We are part of this language. Changes in the content of the information changes us.

You are rich in streaming information, entering you, processed by you is projected outward. You are not often aware that you are doing this, when from a replication perspective, is all you are doing.

The changes in information can be told in narratives as stories, or backlinks to blogposts.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Magic Of The New Millenium

bridging the oughtsIn 2002, I was in a DAS meeting I shouldn’t have been with my colleague Ms. Kimberly Rushton. DAS is the strategic arm for cross-selling Omnicom clients.

In 2003, friends of mine published a legal version of my report embedded in the novel Few people could see what I described. Those who did fueled a growing fire by giving me intriguing quotes, the sound bites that help with hendselling Poker Without Cards, my novel.As a result of this book, Ben will never work in advertising again.
-Douglas Rushkoff, 2003

Poker Without Cards was called a cult-classic by our advocates, and much worse by our detractors. There were a few of us who bonded together and inspired some readership. Why?

It wasn’t for my prose. What I learned in that DAS meeting. In Poker Without Cards, I couldn’t speak to exactly what I saw, nor did I ever mention the name DAS. Here’s as close as I wrote in 2002…

HOWARD CAMPBELL: I work for Omniscient, the world’s largest media conglomerate. Our goal is to create a full interactive experience with our client’s products in the most rich and realistic environments possible. Omniscient sees its clients as a revenue delivery system. They aren’t a communication company; they’re a human interaction delivery mechanism, servicing everything from recruitment to health care to private investigation and security. They do population control, overseeing everything that relates to employees as depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Omniscient companies interface with humans. They are beginning to comprehensively manage human resources. Humans are not souls, but energy to be extracted and managed.

DR. WILLIAM FINK: You are being a little extreme.

HOWARD CAMPBELL: Am I? Omniscient companies handle everything that relates to humans. From company culture to ascertaining if employees are doing what they are supposed to, all the way down to screening emails. When voice recognition software is privately available, they will screen phone calls also.

In the above excerpt from Poker Without Cards is a non-classified, poetic way of describing Omnicom’s business plan. In a satire, an artist is allowed to use the likeness of public figures in works of art.

The DAS Meeting
Ms. Kimberly Rushton and I were witness to a presentation that scared both of us, how a communication company transforms into a human interaction delivery mechanism with increased levels of surveillance. We saw a 45 minute PowerPoint in a hall of cheering salespeople and strategists.

I had a hard time processing that event. I told HR I was going to see my psychiatrist because I was seeing flashes of color. Later, she would claim I said no such thing to her.
How naïve was I? Very.

Let me explain what this technology means to your average corporate executive, around the globe…

Imagine you are an executive newly hired for a Fortune 1,000 company. Your compensation package includes all you communication devices, right? Guess who retains the right to mine that data? Voice recognition automatically captures phrases with keywords. Big Brother is not sponsored by your government, it’s brought to you by your employer.

In Poker Without Cards, I treat BBDO and Omnicom as public figures and I refer to them as CCEO and Omniscient. In other words, real life companies BBDO & Omnicom are in my novel as CCEO & Omniscient.